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Who will be Responsible for the Next Hiroshima? It Won’t be Iran

August 6th marked the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the first Republican presidential debate. Unfortunately the latter made no mention of the former save for Senator Lindsey Graham’s remark that “If I were President Truman, I would have dropped the bomb”.[1] Instead of recognizing the tragedy that is the Hiroshima bombing, Republican candidates uniformly argued against the Iran deal and lobbied for war with Iran. Some reflection on the nuclear policy of the US and its allies might have been wise for the Republican candidates before they launched into their attacks against Iran:

Jeb Bush: “Iranian mullahs have their blood on their hands”

Carly Fiorina: “Iran is at the heart of most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East”

Scott Walker: “To me, you terminate the deal on day one”

Mike Huckabee: “It has to do with the incredibly dangerous place that this world is gonna be as a result of a deal in which we got nothing… What the Iranians have said is, “we will wipe Israel off the face of the map, and we will bring death to America.” When someone points a gun at your head and loads it, by God, you ought to take them seriously, and we need to take that seriously.”[2]

If you believe the rhetoric of the potential Republican presidential nominees Iran is a nation of evil bent on destroying the United States and Israel, and that because of the deal will have the means to do so. The reality is that basically every serious scholar of international relations agrees that nuclear weapons are deterrents, not weapons of aggressive war.

Iran would never launch a nuclear strike against the United States or Israel because it would result in their own annihilation. Iran wants the bomb to prevent war, not start it and despite assertions to the contrary, is being totally rational given the aggressive rhetoric and foreign policy of the United States and Israel. Assuming the deal is a total failure and Iran is able to get a nuclear weapon, it will not result in escalation to war, but in fact make war less likely by eliminating the possibility of the United States or Israel invading Iran for the same reason that North Korea has eliminated the possibility of the United States or South Korea launching an invasion.

At the same time as politicians fear-monger over Iran, the United States, the only nation to use a nuclear weapon and the nation with the second largest arsenal on the planet, is rebuilding its nuclear arsenal, in direct violation of the Nuclear-Nonproliferation Treaty, which mandates that parties to the treaty move towards dismantling their nuclear arsenals.[3][4] Of course, unlike Iran’s violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, there is very little discussion of the United States’ violations. What’s worse, Pakistan, India, and Israel, all US allies, maintain nuclear arsenals and have refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.

As the only country to have used a nuclear weapon, with the largest military in the world, the country most with the most aggressive foreign policy since World War II, and the apparent desire of the Republican field to pursue a war with Iran, it seems foolish to look outside the United States to pin a country like Iran as the harbinger of a nuclear war. Far more likely is a war between our allies India and Pakistan, but like Hiroshima’s anniversary that fact remains entirely absent from American political dialogue. Instead, we heard about the bogey-man of Iran.

Notes.

[1] Jonathan Martin, “Lindsey Graham to Japan, on Hiroshima: I’d Have Dropped the Bomb, Too.” New York Times. August 6, 2015, Web.http://www.nytimes.com/live/republican-debate-election-2016-cleveland/lindsey-graham-to-japan-on-hiroshima-anniversary-id-have-dropped-the-bomb-too/

[2] “Transcript: Read the Full Text of the Primetime Republican Debate.” Time. August 6, 2015, Web. http://time.com/3988276/republican-debate-primetime-transcript-full-text/

[3] Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, “World Nuclear Weapon Stockpile.” Plough Shares. June 23rd 2015, Web. http://www.ploughshares.org/world-nuclear-stockpile-report

[4] Stephen Young, “Obama’s Trillion Dollar Nuclear Weapons Gamble.” Defense One. February 1, 2015, Web. http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2015/02/obamas-trillion-dollar-nuclear-weapons-gamble/104217/

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